I was an assistant in a Special Ed class. I realize how vain it seems to only have my face in focus, but there is a legit reason. I didn't feel right posting children's (and teacher's) faces on my blog without permission...and since I have no way to collect permission from everyone, I decided to play it safe. Which sucks because I WISH you could see all their sweet little faces. Especially the little guy in my lap. Let me back up - While I was still in college, I worked as a nanny, but decided to assist in a classroom for the summer program that my local school district does for children with special needs. This was taken my first summer with the program. This program really made a GIANT impact on me...one that has had lasting effects. Working with these kids taught me so much. One in particular; The little boy in my lap. His name is Jake and I think about him often. He was 5 in this picture and has Down Syndrome. I learned (just enough) sign language to talk to him, because he didn't speak. He couldn't tie his shoes. He didn't like people to touch him. But for some reason, we connected. Since it was one lead teacher and 3 assistants (one was taking this picture) we were able to give them lots of one-on-one attention. The lead teacher automatically noticed my connection to Jake and had me work with him every day. By the end of summer, he could tie his shoes. He could say SIX words (!!!!) and had expanded his signing vocabulary. And most amazing? He ran to hug me every morning, and cried when it was time to go home. (I am almost crying typing that part.) Jake was in a foster home. A GREAT foster home, for the record. The Mom was a saint and I have no doubt he had a great life there...but he hadn't bonded with anyone quite like he bonded with me. I went home crying almost every day because I wished so badly that I was older, married, in a different place in my life so I could have adopted him. And I was serious. I really would have adopted him, if I hadn't been 19. The next summer, he wasn't there. His foster family had moved out of the district...and I never knew what came of Jake. BUT, that experience...that connection to this little human being...it was an absolutely priceless experience that I would never give back.
I played a role that allowed me to wear some AMAZING dresses. When I was in high school, I got to play a lot of really, really amazing roles. Of the plays I was in, I had three roles in particular that rocked my world. Martha in Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf, M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias and Lorraine Sheldon in The Man Who Came to Dinner. It's really hard to pick a favorite role because they were all so different...but the wardrobe? Hands down, Lorraine Sheldon wins every time. The pictures don't show up very big here, so feel free to click on them to blow them up...but I digress. It is based in the 1940's so, my theater teacher and I went vintage dress shopping for the role. Let me just say...the clothes from that era fit my curves like a glove. Nothing had to be altered. And it was so much fun playing "dress up" in clothes like my grandmother's wore. I really wish I still had that black dress on the end...it was my favorite.
I went to a high school dance with my husband. There is a perk to living in the same town for most of your life. History has its benefits. (And it's downfalls...for the record.) Ryan & I were dating when he entered his senior year of high school and even though I had graduated and started college, I was still happy to go to his senior Homecoming dance with him. In fact, I think I was more excited than he was! I was friends with a lot of the people in his class, so getting to see them all was great. But more than that, the memories make me smile. Knowing that someday we can show our children pictures of us, all dolled up for a high school dance TOGETHER. I think that's a pretty cool thing. :)